This is a post I never thought I would write. I’m usually an expert on suppressing my true feelings, but recently, I’ve been in a constant battle with my emotions. I would burst into tears unsuspectingly, avoid spending time with friends, and hibernate in my room while contemplating the easiest, and most effective way, of hurting myself. Like in most cases, my depression is the result of a traumatic experience I endured near the beginning of this year. I had hoped by now that this devastating pain would just go away, but I’ve realized that rushing my recovery or denying my feelings won’t solve anything. Although it’s recommended to seek professional help when dealing with depression, reading is one of the few things that has helped me to stay afloat.
As you may have guessed, books have transported me multiple times to a different world than the one I’m trying to survive in. I know this is super cliche, but it’s true. When I’d go through some of my nuclear meltdowns, I would hide in my room and cry so hard that I swear I’d popped a blood vessel. I’ve decided that the best way to combat my breakdowns before they happen or to regain strength afterward, is to pick up a book and read. I get lost in the words, the characters, the environment, the emotions, and the actions. They say that “[a] reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one”. I wholeheartedly believe in that quote because during my reading, the pain temporarily disappears and I have whisked away to Aiaia, undergoing metamorphosis into a fierce Greek goddess or an African Maji warrior with snow-white hair. I can easily be engrossed in my books for hours on end. When I finally return back from my adventures, I feel a bit calmer and slightly stronger. I am able to breathe again without the pain.
On top of that, reading has also taught me to have the courage to fight my battles and stay strong. I’ve been told many times before that I have a bubbly personality. I guess it’s true. I’d say I have a carefree attitude and I love making people laugh with my corny jokes. But honestly, on the inside, I am falling apart. Often times I would have self-destructive thoughts where I falsely believe that I am nothing and completely worthless. With such thoughts, I know I have to act quickly or else it will be extremely difficult for me to pull myself out of that mental thinking. Fictional characters have come to my aid countless times in these dark moments. For example, Circe, by Madeline Miller, was exiled to a deserted island after discovering her powers. She used her isolation to get stronger and become a powerful sorceress. She didn’t breakdown in tears because she was banished from the rest of her family nor did she allow Glaucus’s—her first true love—rejection to break her. Instead, she worked on herself and gained the courage to confront one of the most powerful titan gods: her father, Helios. With every page turned, I am encouraged by Circe’s independence and self-awareness; and with her help, I’ve realized that I am stronger than any hardship I’ve faced.
Now for the best part, books have provided a stable source of companionship when battling my depression. I know this may be a little weird for some to understand, but it’s the truth. Whenever my meltdowns force me to isolate myself from family and friends, I only have my books to turn to for help. One of the hardest things to do when dealing with depression is to seek help. The fear of being misunderstood or not ready to talk about the pain usually outweighs any practical advice. Thus, with books, I don’t need to explain what I am feeling. I can simply select a book that closely highlights what I am dealing with at the moment. There are times where I want to be surrounded by my family and friends, but I sometimes don’t know how to go about doing that without going in-depth as to why I feel a certain way. Yet, my books are patient. They’ll wait forever if need be. I am never alone when I have my books. I could just escape into another world whenever I want too.
I know what you’re probably thinking right now. I need to find help ASAP! Well, maybe you’re right. Be that as it may, I know I have improved as a result of reading. Now, there are days where I can’t stop crying no matter how hard I try and my books just won’t cut it. At that time, I don’t fight it. Nonetheless, my books have helped me to remain sane and to push forward.
If you’re dealing with a similar issue, I’d love to know what has helped you to remain positive and stand firm. Share below!
Thanks for the read!